Purchased from: Ebay
Features — 10
18 Watts - It is loud enough to play unmic'd with a heavy drummer. Has a clean look, doesn't look cheap.
- Solid construction build.
- Open back cab.
- Very touch sensitive.
- More along the Marshall 1974x tone.
- 12" Celestion Green Back STOCK!
- 2 EL84's
- 2 12ax7's
- Power / standby switches
- Built in Reverb
- Hi & Low inputs (high for humbuckers / low for singles and P90s)
- Effects loop
- line out
- speaker out
- Gain, Bass, Mid, High, reverb, master knobs.
- Comes with a footswitch for the reverb.
Sound — 9
Suits my style well once I learned how to push the distortion. Max the volume, max the overdrive, JUMP THE EFFECTS LOOP! Takes humbuckers really really really well. Sounds clear and articulate. No complaints. It's a different style amp than I'm use to. I'm use to 2 or 3 channel high gain amps this is single channel and requires some tricks to get every last ounce of juicy gain to be maxed. When you do and you've got this cranked playing to a hard drummer it feels perfect.
If you want tightness for metal and hardcore you'll get enough gain from here but you may want to consider using a Over Drive to tighten the lows. It's not 5150 gain level but there is enough on here if you know how to get squeeze it out.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I think this amp is solid. I do feel like I could depend on it. I think it will last and with proper maintenance, cleaning and obviously proper moving of any tube amp I don't see any issue with this thing. I would use it to gig however I don't know if I could gig with it. I'd personally consider a back up only because it's a 18 watt tube amp that will always be cranked in a live setting whether practice or venue I shouldn't expect the tubes to last as long as other higher wattage amps running 4 power tubes, this is on 2 EL84's. Maybe I'd just bring extra tubes.
Overall Impression — 9
I play rock, hardcore, metal and post hardcore ambient types of music. I've owned a Mesa Dual Recto, 5150, Orange Tiny Terror and other high gain amps. I'm currently using a Fender with a Duncan Invader, Gibson SG Melody Maker, LTD 7-string & Danelectro DC3.
This amp is loud enough unmic'd for a band practice with a heavy rock drummer however I have no idea about unmic'd at a show. I'd assume if you're not mic'd you're not going to have much presence to fill up the venue. Please leave the comments about being mic'd out of the follow up comments. Not all of us get to play venues with a good PA or a PA that supports more than vocals. If you're like me you don't play in a cover band which means you're probably not always playing bars or event's where a quality PA is supplied.
Anyway I like the amp and the stock gain but I found it to be just a tad short on the gain I'd need at times. There are times I need more gain. If a 5150 is a 10 on gain saturation this would be a 5.5 on max gain.
Instead of giving up on the amp I did a few things since. I got such a good deal I didn't want to give up yet. I JUMPED THE EFFECTS LOOP! Meaning I put in a patch cable on the send and return, turned up the wet signal all the way and got added gain, added volume and added clarity and presence and I don't mean a little... like a lot.
So now I was at the saturation I wanted but I had some low end flub, not much but some. I got a used "Way huge green rhino Overdrive" and ran it as a clean boost by turning up the volume all the way, Drive off, Tone at about 2 o'clock, db knob on the 3rd dash to tighten up the low end and have the curve at about 12 o'clock. Basically eliminated the flub low end. I need to be very careful saying flub. It's not like a bad flub. Because I play aggressive fast styles where there is a bit of chugging I need to be a bit more mid range focused. Honestly with out the OD pedal it would be fine for rock and blues and heavy rock stock and it's almost perfect for me stock, the OD pedal just made it way better. Yes I can play legitimate modern metal through this. Yes the Green Back sounds fantastic and yes I like it and it's ease of portability especially for practices. It's best suited if you can truly crank the amp's gain and volume 100%, you'll get the best tube saturation that way. At 18 watts you should be able to. In your bedroom in a apartment it will get the cops called on you if you live in a apartment.
The reverb is nearly useless. I love reverb for my ambient styles of music and this reverb has zero value, I barely know it's on when you're playing. Maybe it adds a full tone I'm not noticing but if you want a really nice reverb and sound like you're playing in a cave or auditorium you won't even get close to that. Because of the reverb I'd give it a 9. Again, if you're a seeker of more gain, jump the effects loop!